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Upgrading Seats on Long Flights Worth It?
Old 05-19-2016, 01:00 PM   #1
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Upgrading Seats on Long Flights Worth It?

Hi ER Community:

I am traveling to Asia in August from Chicago. The first leg of my flight is 13 hours followed by a connecting 7 hour flight. Same for the trip back.

I am fairly tall (6'2") and have been contemplating upgrading to a Economy Plus seat on United. The upgrade would be about $400 round trip (note: I paid only $650 round trip for my flight) and is only applicable to the 13 hour legs (not the 7 hour connecting flights).

Of course I am having an internal battle trying to decide if the cost is worth it. For those of you who don't know, Economy Plus only gives you about 5" of extra leg room + extra pitch, but per my research on SeatGuru's website, you can secure more "preferred" seats by doing your homework. This does not include all of the extras that First Class gets you (better food, more space, lay flat bed, etc).

Just curious to hear if anyone has had experience with these seats and if you think the cost is worth it?
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:18 PM   #2
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Figure it's $700/13/2 = ~$27 an hour to sit in that seat.

If you are still working, it's definitely worth it. You do not want to recuperate from the seats before of after the vacation.

If you are already retired, maybe.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:27 PM   #3
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Hmm, $400 seems a tad steep for only moderately better seats, but I would probably pay it if a) your discretionary/travel budget can easily cover it and b) you don't sleep easily or soundly on long flights. If it were me, I would use frequent flier miles to upgrade to "economy plus" or business class for the 13-hour segment, and then I'd take some Ambien or Xanax to help me sleep.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #4
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Definitely worth it IMHO and I do it routinely for long flights.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by younginvestor2013 View Post
Just curious to hear if anyone has had experience with these seats and if you think the cost is worth it?
Yes and yes.

It all depends on your tolerance for pain and discomfort. For an Asia flight I would look for a bargain or lower cost business class fare and see how it compares with the economy plus, but I always go for the extra leg room.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Yes, definitely worth not risking a blood clot!
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by younginvestor2013 View Post
Hi ER Community:

I am traveling to Asia in August from Chicago. The first leg of my flight is 13 hours followed by a connecting 7 hour flight. Same for the trip back.

I am fairly tall (6'2") and have been contemplating upgrading to a Economy Plus seat on United. The upgrade would be about $400 round trip (note: I paid only $650 round trip for my flight) and is only applicable to the 13 hour legs (not the 7 hour connecting flights).

Of course I am having an internal battle trying to decide if the cost is worth it. For those of you who don't know, Economy Plus only gives you about 5" of extra leg room + extra pitch, but per my research on SeatGuru's website, you can secure more "preferred" seats by doing your homework. This does not include all of the extras that First Class gets you (better food, more space, lay flat bed, etc).

Just curious to hear if anyone has had experience with these seats and if you think the cost is worth it?
We do it due to my husband's height 6'4". In fact, we bought the annual subscription for economy plus that covers two people because it was close to what the upgrades cost on RT long flight upgrades for two.

Sometimes it's more than 5". And you don't feel like someone is right in your face when they lean their seat back.

You are also closer to the front of the plane. With our group 2 boarding (a different perk available from the Mileage Plus credit card) that means easy on, easy off and first served in economy.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:43 PM   #8
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I would and I'm not very tall( understatement) and my husband is medium(6ft)
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:51 PM   #9
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I upgrade to premium economy on all my translatic flights. It's definitely worth it. I'd rather upgrade to business, but the pricepoint is usually way over my budget. I could use miles instead, but I'd rather use them to fly the whole family somewhere on vacation.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:52 PM   #10
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Yes, well worth it if you're over 6 feet/200 lbs. DW and I booked aisle and window seats in our economy-plus row and nobody wanted to pay a premium to sit in the middle seat! So we got extra legroom AND lateral space.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:55 PM   #11
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I am 5'10". Those longer than 10 hour international flights are getting more and more difficult for me and DW as we age.

Your $650 cost is way deep discounted. I have purchased $1200 from LAX to Asia routinely. So, adding $400, would still a deep discount in my mind.

So, I would do it.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:16 PM   #12
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It's definitely a personal choice. As an alternative, I would suggest getting up every two hours to walk and stretch. I think that is more helpful than a larger seat and good to do even if you do have the larger seat.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:17 PM   #13
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Yes, well worth it if you're over 6 feet/200 lbs. DW and I booked aisle and window seats in our economy-plus row and nobody wanted to pay a premium to sit in the middle seat! So we got extra legroom AND lateral space.

Good trick!
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:48 PM   #14
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Yes, well worth it if you're over 6 feet/200 lbs. DW and I booked aisle and window seats in our economy-plus row and nobody wanted to pay a premium to sit in the middle seat! So we got extra legroom AND lateral space.
That works unless the flight is full. Unfortunately the long flights are often full.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:57 PM   #15
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Thanks all. Your comments will make me feel less guilty now when I do pull the trigger.

SeatGuru's website shows the exit row seat as having a ton of leg room due to it being the next aisle after biz class so I will likely go with that one. It is also 20-30% more than "crappy" economy plus seats.

My friend said that business class often goes on sale? Does anyone know if that's true, and do you find out well before the flight is scheduled? I just looked at the upgrade to business class for the two segments and it would probably be close to $2-3k, which is a big difference than paying an extra $400!
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:58 PM   #16
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Definitely worth the upgrade imo. One of the benefits is that when you arrive you may be more able to hit the ground running. I often find that an uncomfortable flight means more post flight 'recovery' time. If your time at the destination is limited this may be especially important.
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Old 05-19-2016, 03:07 PM   #17
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I've done the US East Coast to Narita/Shanghai/Seoul/Taipei run probably 40 or 50 times. First or Business is well worth whatever the cost.

YMMV but I worked with a guy who made the run in coach. He got up after the flight and bent down to tie his shoe. He did something serious to his back and subsequent hospitalization in Tokyo did more harm than good. He never was the same and had to use crutches the rest of his life.
He had no doubt in his mind that the long flight in a coach seat was the culprit.
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Old 05-19-2016, 03:14 PM   #18
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I am 6'3" tall and I find regular economy on long flights when the person in front of me puts their seat back, to be intolerable. I have used economy plus, and on my last flight, premium economy, to get more room. I think that economy plus is totally worth it, while premium economy is more of an indulgence.

One note of caution on the exit rows; if they have a large space in front of them, people will tend to stand there on long flights to stretch or while waiting for the bathroom. That can prevent you from getting any rest. I prefer the last row before the exit so I can put my seat back guilt free.
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Upgrading Seats on Long Flights Worth It?
Old 05-19-2016, 03:34 PM   #19
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Upgrading Seats on Long Flights Worth It?

DH and I gave up Coach in long-hauls years ago. He's 77, 6'2", and has a creaky back. It just takes him too darn long to unwind from 8 hours in Coach. So, we fly Business Class but only once a year. My last business trip to London was in the larger seats on AA (Main Cabin ExtrAA). They had just been introduced and I got it for regular fare as a Lifetime Gold. Definitely worth a few extra bucks, but I don't think it would help DH much. Besides, he's gotten addicted to lounge access at the airport and ice cream sundaes in flight!
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by younginvestor2013 View Post
Thanks all. Your comments will make me feel less guilty now when I do pull the trigger.

SeatGuru's website shows the exit row seat as having a ton of leg room due to it being the next aisle after biz class so I will likely go with that one. It is also 20-30% more than "crappy" economy plus seats.

My friend said that business class often goes on sale? Does anyone know if that's true, and do you find out well before the flight is scheduled? I just looked at the upgrade to business class for the two segments and it would probably be close to $2-3k, which is a big difference than paying an extra $400!
The exit row seats usually come with a premium charge. And make sure you get a seat that reclines.
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